inessential by Brent Simmons

The Feature I Most Want in Web Browsers

Websites these days use crazy amounts of resources — and a lot of it goes to surveillance and tracking.

What I want is two related and similar things:

  • The ability to turn off JavaScript by default, and turn it on only for selected sites. (For me that would be sites like GitHub.)
  • The ability to turn off cookies by default, and, again, turn them on only for selected sites.

If it‘s the opposite — if I have to blacklist instead of whitelist — then I’d be constantly blacklisting. And, the first time I go to a site, it gets to run code before I decide to allow it.

I realize this will horrify many web developers: they’re accustomed to assuming that JavaScript is always available.

But we’re long past the time when we have to recognize that the extreme abuse of JavaScript and cookies is the norm. It’s the rare site that uses these for good.

I can’t believe we’ve tolerated this situation for so long.

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PS You can still show ads without JavaScript. You just have to be able to render it server-side. I realize that’s harder.